What kind of a place is a sento? How useful are sento for our health?
◎A sento was originally a public bathhouse for people that did not have a bath at home .The number of sentos has declined since Showa 40(1965)as the number of homes with baths increased .Now we are in the Heisei Era(1989~)and times have changed .Sento have been reevaluated as a kind of hot spring in town ,a kind of spa where people can relax .They are now regarded more as a luxury ,an inexpensive leisure spot for all ,and have regained popularity.
◎In Tokyo the temperature of the water in the sento baths can be different in each bathhouse ,but are usually around 43 degrees .The bath is 50 cm deep.You may be surprised at the hot temperature,as it is hotter than most baths at home .But it is said that soaking deeply in hot tub is good for proteins in the body .It can facilitate metabolism and improve the immune system.
◎The large baths in the sento are quite different from the small baths at home .They help to create a refreshing atmosphere and give true relaxation in a bath .Sentos have for centuries been a place where neighbor meet and different generations come together.People inside are literally naked .Somehow it lends itself to honesty,more diredt communination ,and respect for each other as humans.Many countries have bath tradition ,but there is something very special about the Japanese Sento.
Sento is part of tradional culture with a long history in Japan
Sento history begins in the 6th century.It was the time Buddhism arrived in Japan. Some early temples had baths for the cleaning of Buddihst statues, or for the monks themselves to use .A few centuries later temples began to allow the public to use their baths.Bathing became popular among common people.At the end of the 12th century bathing facilities began to open as private businesses.This was the beginning of the sento .Sento became popular during the Edo Era(1603-1868).Building of private baths was prohibited as a measure to prevent fires in the city of Edo (present day Tokyo).Many sentos were buit .Sentos remained popular after the Edo Era.Many families continued to use sentos until around the 40th year of showa(1965-1974)
Please take off your underwear before you go in.
Please wash yourself well before getting into tub.
Please use the shower while sitting ,and turn it off when you don’t use it.
Please keep your towel out of the tub.
Please refrain from washing your clothes of underwear.
Please dry yourself off before oming out to the dressing area.